tv Senator Marco Rubio Calls for Renewed Focus on Western Hemisphere CSPAN May 11, 2017 8:56am-9:31am EDT
i hope you get a good night's sleep. we are going to grill you hard. it is an honor to be part of this conference. it's an exciting time because it gives us an opportunity to rethink policy. in many ways outside of normal convention. let me again by saying there has been consistency, lack of focus at some of the highest levels of our government in the hemisphere. it's something that needs to be reversed. in the end our future is deeply
tied to our region. i say our region because we talk about something that is happening somewhere else. we are part of that. if you live where i do you know full well you are part of it culturally and politically. and so it's an opportunity to be here with you today. i want to take an opportunity to gather over five or six years in the senate. i'm troubled by u.s. foreign policy that is tactically driven versus strategically driven. military action or no military action. diplomatic engagement. if they are not in furtherance of the strategy you're wasting a lot of time. i do not pretend to have the all
knowing strategy, but i know we have ideas that we intent to share with new administration or people who work in this building about with my colleagues in the united states senate and with each of you here today. while they are not universally accepted, i do believe they lay the ground work for a way forward i don't believe is partisan or should be controversial. let's begin by constructing three pillars. the first is our safety, security and national security. the second is economic prosperity and the third is defending our valleys. all three are equally important. they are not ordered in any particular way and they are related. it is impossible to do any of the three without the other two. let's begin with how we keep america safe. it begins by countering elicit
flows. citizens have been fleeing in droves often dear to our country. and these migrant flows have created a thriving business in addition to strengthening security we need to ensure we are partnering with countries to stem these flows which can be ultimately exploited by terrorists, by others who are trying to bring elicit items into the united states. so what would a strategy look like? it begins by working with mexico and guatemala to tighten their own border security, by using u.s. canadian programs and having law enforcement partner with counter parts in mexico.
working with other willing partners to enhance their border security at key transit points as well. by using the department of defense to help build capacity with our partners, by revitalizing to ensure adequate coast guard and in the eastern pacific, by providing u.s. southern command with greater resources on how to dismantle smuggling networks. they will host one such gathering from the northern triangle as well as others to discuss this and other issues of importance. we assessing it to ensure it's not replicating mistakes we made in other programs but that it's
adequately conditioned. it is somebody the recipient countries ask for as well. giving the possible shift of cocaine processing as a result of peace columbia we should prioritize using lessons learned and military training exercises with northern triangle countries by developing institutions key to security including the public prosecutor offices, police forces with a special emphasis building on successful and by helping countries tackle corruption, by strengthening money laundering laws and enforcement capabilities, by supporting anti corruption
initiatives. and by holding countries that are not cooperative and making clear u.s. assistance could be effected if they do not present a plan. by working with columbia and peru to reduce cocaine production, by working with columbia and mexico to reduce the heroin entering the united states. by fully utilizing all legal tools that target including the foreign narcotics act. security also means addressing the reality of outside actors. we are focused on cloebl prices throughout the world. international terrorist groups who have exploited criminal
networks could also use networks to access u.s. territory. the region has not been immune to the rise of isis and other militant groups. u.s. adversaries and including china have sought to exploit sentiments of some in the region. there are a number of thing we should do. we should make here the united states does not expect to trade solely with us. but allow them to establish a foothold in the region, to speak out and support pro-american leaders, responsible leaders who seek to deepen cooperation and to make clear america is not going to leave a vacuum in the region for others to fill.
by to increase u.s. economic including by leveraging our allies and by assisting u.s. companies to bid for military sales in the region. increasing u.s. supporting on and monitoring of the activities of nonstate actors in the region. by deepening military and to military relationships with key lat last tin american partners and assist those such as a gener -- by working to build capacity of smaller states that face challenges in this area. and by prioritizing our engagement in organizations such as the organization of american states while at the same time standing up to organizations that exclude the united states.
it makes it less likely they would come to the united states but helps build economies that would become consumer and trade partners with us. we need economic agenda that makes clear to our partners that china and other actors are not the only -- or should not be an alternative. it is with foreigning closer economic ties including that prioritize free market forms and when policies connect and deepen economic relationship with allies and other regions by modernizing nafta but ensuring that it does not send a mess alk
that the united states is closed for business. prioritizing property protection, elimination of nontariff bar jers but made clear that nafta modernization is not hostile to mechanics kxi canada. accelerate the grow of a private sector through what i call a presidential level this initiative called america's economic freedom initiative, to show there's not a need to join the investment bank. this would not be based on foreign assistance but find a way to incentivize to develop a regional community independent and distribution of a range of products in the production and distribution of a range of products and services particularly energy, allowing smaller countries to become less reliant for their energy needs.
the second aspect of helping can s to fight corruption by making common cause with leaders like guatemala and argentina, by publicly spoking out about the cost of corruption especially to the poor in the region as well as american exporters. by replicating on a regional level. bringing together to discuss corporate govern nance including countries like argentina, mexico and peru, nations looking forward to being enacted such as
this. for individuals and national noncompliance. the third, which is the one i spent a significant amount of time on is defending our values. for me it begins by standing up for freedom and for democracy. i fear quite frankly for the better part of 30 or 40 years too much time has been played. during the cold war we looked the other way as right wing dictators took power in the hopes of keeping out the soviet union. in the 21st century we too off outright neglected as the rule of law have been cancelled in places like venezuela, ecuador, bolivia and cuba. presidential messaging and leadership is critical and
needed to reverse the perception that the united states can tougher on allies than it is on adversaries. i hope we will recalculate and that we will also finally begin to pressure the government in venezuela, to hold an election, to recognize national assembly and to assemble and speak freely. there is no way anyone associated with their government can get elected to anyone. all we ask for is that election be followed. i think it's fornt also diplomatically isolate countries that refuse to work to tackle regional challenges. it is critical that from this building, from congress and throughout government we place democracy and human rights at the core of united states
foreign policy in this region and throughout the world to ensure our programs reflect this. i believe we need to engage in the organization to rescue the inner american diplomatic charter which was neglected for far too long by presidents in both parties and make clear to our partners they will also speak out as many now are doing in argentina, no mexico, in peru, in chile. it is critical to reassure our allies. for far too long i believe we neglected many of our partners in the region. we need to build on partners like mexico, columbia and new opportunities that presented themselves in peru, brazil, argentina. i believe canada can play a key role in democracy in the region.
partners like columbia have great potential to expand inside and outside of the hemisphere. i go back to it but i think we need to empower the organization of american states to fulfill its mission as stipulated. i believe we need to develop key partners to discuss regional as well as partners on issues unrelated to the western hemisphe hemisphere. by expapding relationships,
exercises and programs to formalize military cooperation and security cooperation within the region. by reassuring column bee yan people the united states supports peace columbia but it will be conditioned on full compliance and we will work with the column b-- to ensure they d not go unpunished and victims are adequately -- and finally, assured that our aid efforts are actually having the desired impact in places like haiti and factors such as corruption are not undermining the effectiveness of our support. we must make sure despite these fiscal constraints we face here the united states is willing to support those partners and we commitment to dealing with security challenges that respect
democratic norms and the rule of law and support these broader issues. that's a lot to digest. i know it reads almost like a power point. it almost became one. i wanted to get that on the record. so much of the things we want to do are guided by tactics. the one point i try to make to my colleagues is more often than not -- i said this at a great gathering, that more often than not our allies are an answer, not a problem, that more often than not we are more linked than we believe. now, obviously the media doesn't cover the western hemisphere as much as it once did. much is paid to north korea, as rightfully so. i think the opportunities that exist for a 21st century of
shared prosperity, but perhaps it's because i live in miami i remember vividly in the 1990s where not only traveling to columbia out of the question but also the fear someone you loved could be next, losing their lives in a bombing not because of a political engagement, because they happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. through much effort, blood, sacrifice and american assistance the people of columbia went from being in a failed state to perhaps the strongest and one of the most capable perhaps in the world.
you see it in the tourists that fly in from argentina and columbia. but you also see it in the decline in visitors in places like venezuela. one of the richest on the planet lost 19 pounds in the last year. it wasn't a result of exercise or diet. it is a result of economic calamity or disaster. you can see right there in two bordering countries the distress of bad governance and economic engagement. this is what we hope for for the region. this is important. it's in our benefit as a nation.
i can tell you we live in a hemisphere where we live with a growing middle class, like columbia with growing trade opportunities like brazil that has gone through the process and hopefully move forward which is embracing the free market. life in america would be more pr prosperous. it begins by prioritizing this from the highest levels of government. so my hope is from our eat in the united states senate from our sub committee and from our engagement such as this that we can encourage more of our colleagues on both sides of the aisle to engage in the western hemisphere. i think the opportunities for our nation, for our region and ultimately for the world are truly extraordinary. the thing is because we haven't been debating it as of now there
are no partisan lines. there are no preexisting positions. it's an open and blank slate in many ways. it allows us to write it in a way meaning the broader region. i thank you for the importance you continue to give it in highlighting this. my hope is in years to come as we come back and engage with you that many of the ideas that you're producing and that we offered are becoming reality and the fruits are out there for all to see. so again, i thank you for this opportunity to address you and look forward to hear from you, learn from you and achieve prosperity from you and our partners in the region. thank you very much.
now we have a few minutes for q and a. >> thank you for your time and letting us be here with you. you mentioned in your first part of your speech the relevance, and i could nn't agree with you more of what corruption does with countries. i'm from mexico and it's one of our biggest challenges. so you didn't mention anything about the fact that the u.s. is where the drug is consumed. guns that are killing mexicans come from the u.s. and the money
also coming from the u.s. to the border. do you have any reflection? >> i don't talk about it in the speech. we should re-examine that. you know, the has always been true. sadly it has been the market of choice for cocaine and now opiates and heroin. consumption increased internally as well. it has become a joint problem in that regard. to that i would say a couple points. just today it's part of my appropriations role to continue to seek full funding not just to prevent addiction to opiates but to help treat people. the fact of the matter is in the
medical research on it as clear as possibly be your ability to break free from it -- absent medical intervention is almost none. the problem is for most people those resources don't exist. we tried to work it from the ground up in florida. ultimately where problems are manifesting things are at the local level. they save your life and they are seeing the same people six or seven times a week, multiple times a day that are overdosing. we have got to cut off the demand part of it. and this t supply part of it is important. the problem is that as soon as you cut off one substance it will be another. it will be an ongoing challenge. you're fair to point out that i failed to mention that and that's the demand side.
i would eventually guess that as nations become more prosperous they will too see an uptake in consumption and we may need to be working with them hand in hand in that regard as well. you're absolutely right to point that out as well. >> where is the microphone? ? i'll go ahead and ask a question. >> okay. >> the unfolding of this is uncertain. what is the sort of planning far total sort of collapse and this humanitarian disaster? >> first of all, i spent a lot of time -- i don't mean this in a condescending way, explaining
the nature of the issue. the traditional issue is you have a government in power. you have a civil society against them and they are in these logger heads. you actually have a national assembly despite rampant fraud against them who have been cancelled. imagine if the president said i'm cutting off your funding. we are not going to pay you any sal ris. you don't have money for inks pens, paper, anything. we are going ignore any laws that you pass. that's the state of appears. imagine if they said by the way, we are kicking out any independent news outlet. and then imagine if on top of that you invited a foreign power to take over your intelligence gathering and the like because you don't in some ways trust your own people to do it. you don't think they will oh
press their own people. that's the situation we now face. there has to be a presidential recall. a year from now hold that election. in essence follow your own laws. that's being ignored. i have been very pleased to see nations take leadership on this. i really have. it is one of the most uplifting experiences to see. columbia, stand firmly and a growing number of nations joining that and central america as well. you talk about the humanitarian crisis. that exists.
we want to make sure it is in place and provide the aid if necessary. i think it is an important moment for the region. america's voice is important and we should lead. i have been pleasantly surprised despite what other people's views i will say this to you. i was able to take to visit the president and i have received multiple reports from leaders that when they meet with the president he always asks about venezuela. that's good news, the open mindedness that exists beyond the white house into the national security council to do something with regards to this and give it regional importance
it deserves. it's promising. we have to follow through on it. america's voice is important. i think the most promising development is the nations in the region and that's had an amazing impact than some of the things we have done. i hope it will continue. one of the best ways to create stronger ties with our allies is to start doing things together, start engaging together in produc products. >> i thank you for your time. thank you very much. thank you. >> thank you very